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The South Island of New Zealand is home to some of the country’s most rugged scenery and active experiences. Scenic glacial fjords and dramatic alpine peaks provide a backdrop from which to enjoy a wide array of adventures, including trekking, skiing, jet-boating and even bungee-jumping. Those seeking a more relaxed escape will also find no shortage of intriguing arts and architecture, history, culture, cuisine and therapeutic endeavors to enjoy.
Natural wonders are abundant on the South Island and popular wildlife activities include whale-watching, swimming with dolphins and trekking along alpine trails. For those intent on enjoying more artistic and creative pursuits, Christchurch’s famed Arts Center and Nelson’s community of artists and craftspeople are among the most popular destinations. From rugged alpine coasts to charming villages; from adrenaline-charged adventure to world-class wine tasting, the South Island offers a diverse range of enjoyment for any traveler.
As the cultural and architectural capital of the South Island, Christchurch is known as New Zealand’s Garden City for its many parks, botanical gardens and lovely natural landscape. As the gateway to the South Island, the city’s compact design ensures easy discovery of the area’s sites, history and heritage, and serves as an ideal base from which to explore the volcanic harbor at Akaroa or the town of Kaikoura for whale watching.
At 12,313 feet, Mt. Cook is New Zealand’s highest peak and together with twenty seven other peaks above 10,000 feet, constitutes New Zealand’s famous Southern Alps which provide a scenic backbone along the South Island. In addition to its numerous scenic walks and rugged hikes, Mt. Cook also plays host to a range of activities such as 4WD safaris, horse treks and scenic alpine flights with dramatic snow landings.
Known as the gateway to New Zealand's South Island, Christchurch is located on its own harbor, and is the perfect destination to either relax or seek adventure. The city brings together the best qualities of New Zealand; proximity to pristine coastline, beautiful countryside and a myriad of attractions, all tied together with a diverse and long-standing heritage of Maori and colonial culture. With no lack of adventuresome activities, including whale watching bungee jumping, mountain biking and much more, there are plenty of attractions that will leave you feeling energized. Christchurch is also located near several local sightseeing spots! Christchurch is the perfect location to explore the surrounding region, whichever way you'd like, and get to know the different parts of New Zealand’s South Island.
Stretching from the Waitaki north to the Clutha River, Dunedin exists in a region of natural beauty overlaid with fascinating cultural history. Surrounded by dramatic hills, Dunedin is a city filled with Victorian and Edwardian remnants and plenty of unique features. With incredible wildlife, including some of the world’s rarest penguins, there is no lack of character, adventure and exclusive experiences.
Along the South Island’s west coast, amongst the highest peaks of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, the Franz Josef glacier region is one of only two places in the world where one can witness glacial fingers of ice reaching into temperate rainforest. Almost nowhere else in the world can one witness such unique natural highlights in such a compact area. From a rugged, wild coastline to dramatic snow-capped alpine peaks, this combination of ancient glaciers, pristine lakes and scenic valleys makes for a most memorable experience with nature at its finest.
With over 40 wine cellars in Marlborough it is the perfect place to tour the region’s top wine producers. Whether on a self-drive or tour, Marlborough is the perfect place to explore the region’s vineyard on your own or on a bicycle tour. Venture towards the Marlborough Sounds for a range of cruises and activities including kayak excursions or luxury sailing. Here you can swim with dolphins, dive or spending the day fishing on the Sounds. If hiking is your forte you’ll find extensive trails where you can explore idyllic coves and native forest.
Known as one of the most creative towns in New Zealand, Nelson is home to over 350 artists and craftspeople. These locals are eager to share their passions and expertise, and visitors are welcome to try their hand at glassblowing, pottery, bone carving and even Maori flax waving. After a relaxing day of strolling the arts and crafts scene, there are plenty of opportunities for an intimate dining experience at one of Nelson’s quaint eateries.
On the shore of Lake Wakatipu, at the foot of the Remarkables Ranges lies one of the adventure capitals of the southern hemisphere, Queenstown. This charming town offers something for everyone, from adrenaline-charged activities such as bungee-jumping, whitewater rafting and jet-boating to decidedly more tranquil pursuits of strolling alpine lanes to exploring eclectic shops. Accommodations range from the most intimate B&B’s to charming hotels and rustic lodges to some of the most luxurious and exclusive escapes to be found in the Southern Hemisphere.
for the Latest Sample Itineraries and Special Offers to South Island
All Over Australia and New Zealand
See all Australia and New Zealand have to offer.
Auckland; Rotorua; Queenstown; Christchurch; Sydney; Ayers Rock; Cairns
16 Nights From $12,955 p/p
All Over New Zealand
You'll be amazed at what this small island has to offer.
Auckland; Rotorua; Napier; Wellington; Nelson; Franz Josef; Queenstown; Dunedin; Christchurch
18 Nights From $8,855 p/p
Discover New Zealand and Australia
Best of both worlds.
Queenstown; Christchurch; Melbourne; Adelaide; Kangaroo Island; Port Douglas; Sydney
17 Nights From $11,085 p/p
Luxury in New Zealand
Absolutely everything New Zealand.
Rotorua; Wellington; Queenstown; Christchurch; Wairarapa
13 Nights From $18,600 p/p
Natural New Zealand
The most amazing natural features in the world.
Auckland; Coromandel Peninsula; Rotorua; Te Anau; Wanaka; Franz Josef; Punakaiki; Nelson
14 Nights From $11,165 p/p
Ultimate Australia and New Zealand
Your great escape is finally here.
Taupo; Queenstown; Christchurch; Whitsundays; Blue Mountains; Sydney
17 Nights From $19,580 p/p
Tours and Activities
Arthur's Pass National Park and TranzAlpine
Hot Air Ballooning
Kaikoura Whale Watch
Dunedin City Heritage Tour
Moeraki Boulders and Blue Penguins
The Otago Peninsula Experience
Location: Franz Josef
Location: Mount Cook
Tasman Glacier and 4WD Argo Tour
Location: Mount Cook
A Day in Nelson
Abel Tasman Sailing
Kayak - Tonga Island Seals and Guided Walk
Boutique Wine Tour
Dart River Wilderness Safari
Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise
Length: Half-day, Full-day, Multi-day
Milford Sound Heli Tours
Milford Sound Tour
NZONE - Tandem Skydive
Length: Half-day, Full-day
Queenstown to Christchurch (via Mount Cook)
Safari of the Scenes
White Water Rafting